Northeast Catholic College Information

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Northeast Catholic College
Northeast Catholic College logo.jpg
Former names
Magdalen College [1]
The College of Saint Mary Magdalen [2]
MottoDuc In Altum (Go out into the depths)
Type Private, Roman Catholic, Liberal arts
PresidentDr. George A. Harne [3]
DeanDr. Brian FitzGerald [3]
ChaplainFr. Roger Boucher [4]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBlue, yellow, white


43°18′49″N 71°50′1″W / 43.31361°N 71.83361°W / 43.31361; -71.83361

Northeast Catholic College (formerly The College of Saint Mary Magdalen) [2] is a private Catholic college in Warner, New Hampshire. It is recognized as a Catholic college by the Diocese of Manchester [5] and recommended by the Cardinal Newman Society. [6] NCC offers associates and bachelor's degrees in liberal studies. [2] Its curriculum is based on the study of the Great Books, both in its core and in its majors. NCC possesses degree-granting authority from the State of New Hampshire [2] and is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. [7]

NCC was founded as Magdalen College by Catholic laymen in 1973. [8] From 1974 to 1991 the college operated at its original campus in Bedford, New Hampshire; in 1991, it moved to its current site in Warner. [9]



Catholic laymen Francis Boucher, John Meehan and Peter Sampo [10] [11] [12] founded Magdalen College in 1973, responding to the Second Vatican Council's call for the education of lay Catholic leaders, and with the encouragement of the Bishop of Manchester, Ernest John Primeau. [13] The college was chartered by the State of New Hampshire August 22, 1973, and enrolled its first students in September 1974. [9] The first class consisted of sixteen students and their first day of classes was Friday, September 6, 1974. The initial staff consisted of two professors, and three assistants teaching Latin, Philosophy, Mathematics, Science, and Music. [14]

From 1974 to 1991, the college operated at its original campus, a former motel building in Bedford, New Hampshire. In 1979, there were 70 students and 20 alumni. [15]

Under the presidency of co-founder John Meehan, the college followed a policy of standing in loco parentis and closely supervised students' dress, manners, and behavior in order to maintain a moral atmosphere. [16]

Move to Warner campus

In 1988, there were 39 students. New Hampshire state education officials questioned the college's financial stability. A benefactor's support enabled the college to continue operation. [17] Within three years, Magdalen College had purchased and developed a new campus property. [9]

St. Paul's Multipurpose Building at the Northeast Catholic College in Warner, NH

The college relocated to its current site in Warner, New Hampshire, in 1991. [13]

Outreach and re-founding

From 2007 to 2011, the college owned the Durward's Glen retreat house in Baraboo, Wisconsin, formerly a novitiate for the Order of St. Camillus, and operated it as a site for retreats, religious events, and educational programs. [18] [19] [20] [21]

From 2008-2010, Magdalen College discussed a merger or "unification" with Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Though the merger was cancelled, both institutions learned from each other and now meet several times each year in intramural sports. [22] [23]

Chapel of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, at Northeast Catholic College

From 2008-10 the college underwent a process of reform to shed its image of severity; the student handbook was revised [24] [25] [26] As of 2015, enrollment was reported to be 61 students. [27] The religious makeup of the student body was reported to be 95% Catholic. [27]

In October 2010, the college was renamed The College of Saint Mary Magdalen. It modified its curriculum to include studies of ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and post-Modern culture, and a four-year cycle of music and art courses. [1] [28] [29]

In 2011, the students and faculty of the Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts, founded by Magdalen's first president Peter V. Sampo, joined the college, bringing with them the institute's four-year liberal arts curriculum inspired by educators Donald and Louise Cowan. [30] However, by the end of the first semester of having two programs, the Great Books and the Cowan, it became clear that the dual program approach "would not work". [31] The Cowan Program faculty and parts of the program itself would be merged with the Great Books Program, and the remaining Cowan students would be grandfathered in and allowed to continue according to the Cowan Program. [31] The curriculum merger lead to the introduction of concentrations and the optional study of Greek into the Great Books Program. [32]

In light of the changes to the curriculum and student life policies, the president stated that "this is really a new college." [33]

In January 2015, to mark the culmination of eight years of change and development, the college adopted the name Northeast Catholic College. Coincident with the renaming, the college announced five majors—Great Books, Theology, Philosophy, Literature, and Politics—a new "Career Pathways Program", and new co-patronage under Pope John Paul II. [34] In January 2016, Northeast Catholic College became the first college in the nation to adopt the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an alternative to the SAT and ACT.

Following the college's hosting of a Napa Institute seminar in New York City in 2014, [35] the college was invited to offer another seminar in July 2015 at the Napa Institute in California. Senior faculty of the college were also invited to lead seminars as part of an "Intellectual Retreat" organized by the journal First Things in New York City. [36] [37]

Catholic identity

The Cardinal Newman Society has recognized Northeast Catholic College for its fidelity and Catholic identity. [38] In 2011 the college was consecrated to the Sacred Heart [39] and in 2014, the president outlined the principles of the college's approach to student life in an essay entitled "Finding God on the Quad: Pope Benedict XVI's Vision for Catholic Higher Education." [40] [41] Students regularly participate in the New Hampshire and National March for Life, have been recently been involved in public support for Religious freedom, and participated in "Catholic Day at the State House" in 2015. [42] [43] [44]

On 13 March 2015 the college announced its Dignitas scholarships (inspired by the example of Mother Teresa), a program that integrates pro-life work with service to the poor through international and local service opportunities. [45]

Each academic year begins with a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit at which the Catholic faculty and staff take the Oath of Fidelity, usually in the presence of the bishop. [46] The faculty members who teach theology also request the mandatum from the bishop in accord with Pope John Paul II's Ex corde ecclesiae (II.4.3). [23] [47]

Presidents of the college

  1. Dr. Peter V. Sampo, 1974-1978
  2. John Meehan, 1978-1998
  3. Jeffrey Karls, 1998-2011 [48] [49]
  4. Dr. George Harne, 2011— [50]


A classroom building at Northeast Catholic College

The college offers curricula based on studying the " Great Books" of Western civilization both within the curriculum’s core and in its five majors. [34] The Great Books Program follows a Socratic pedagogy of questioning and discussion. Courses of study are based upon the classical trivium and quadrivium. Students may also receive a Vatican-approved Apostolic Catechetical Diploma. [50] The college offers majors, as of 2015, in Theology, Politics, Philosophy, Literature, and the Great Books. [34] Students also have the opportunity to spend one month each summer in Rome and Norcia. [6]

With the exception of two major courses per semester in the junior and senior years, all students follow the same Great Books curriculum. The course of studies includes a four-year philosophy and humanities sequence of seminars, studies in Rome, three years of theology leading to an Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, [27] four years[ citation needed] of music and art, [27] two years of Greek[ citation needed] or Latin, [27] three years[ citation needed] of science, [27] and courses in logic,[ citation needed] geometry, [27] grammar,[ citation needed] rhetoric,[ citation needed] and non-Western cultures. [27] Students complete a junior project based in their major and as seniors complete comprehensive exams and have the opportunity to write a senior thesis [6]


Students may obtain an Associate of Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts. [7]

On October 17, 1983, the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy granted the college permission to award the "Diploma for Religious Instruction". Now called the "Apostolic Catechetical Diploma", [9] [50] this diploma is awarded to Catholic students who complete the eight-semester sequence of theological studies with at least a 2.0 in each course and who pledge to teach Catholic doctrine in communion with the Holy See.


Until 2010, the college was accredited through the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE). In 2010, the AALE lost its recognition as an accrediting agency with the U.S. Department of Education. [51] For institutions accredited by AALE in 2010 or earlier, accreditation remained valid through July 1, 2012. [52] In May 2013, the college officially withdrew from the AALE.

In 2009, the college reported the start of a self-study process for regional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). [53] The college gained "candidate" status with NEASC in 2013 [7] [54], and regular accredited status in 2018. [7]

Sacred music and liturgy

The college offers students the opportunity to learn Gregorian chant and polyphony, and to participate in liturgies inspired by what Pope Benedict XVI called "the reform of the reform" [55] Although chant and other forms of sacred music are employed at each Mass of the academic year, the liturgies for Holy Week and Easter are marked by extensive use of the Church's musical patrimony. [56] [57]

Beginning in 2011 the college began offering the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite on a weekly basis, and in 2013 the college offered the Divine Liturgy according to the Melkite Rite once per semester. [38] [58] [59] [60] In its celebration of the ordinary form of the Mass, the college's chaplain celebrates ad orientem, and the propers of the Mass are sung in Latin or English. [58] [61] Courses on sacred music, music appreciation, and the visual arts (as well as guest lectures) supplement these opportunities for liturgical formation and are part of the college's "Arts of the Beautiful" program. [62] [63]

Student organizations

Arched bridge on the campus of Northeast Catholic College

Student organizations include:

The college also offers intramural sports. Sporting events take place between student teams from both Northeast Catholic and the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in football, soccer and basketball. There are also sporting events between faculty/staff and student teams. [71]

Student Life hosts a "student organization night" in the fall semester. Each organization has a booth to promote its activities. [65]


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  18. ^ Mesely Luis (June 11, 2007). "Celebrating Corpus Christi at Durward's Glen". Catholic Online.
  19. ^ Kathleen Bushman (May 3, 2007). "Durward's Glen: Purchased by a Catholic college". Madison Catholic Herald.
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  41. ^ Reinhard, Sarah (31 May 2014). "Register Radio - Opus Dei in the U.S. and Great Books Approach to Education". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
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